The project

 Designalike.org is an experiment aimed to explore the potential of combining the Open Source Hardware principles and methodologies with the product design realm.

This idea was inspired by the Open Source Philosophy and Enzo Mari’s “Autoprogettazione?”, not to mention other examples like Open Desk, Opentap, Instructables, and has evolved in a web platform where design projects are treated as open source software.

 

How it works

On this website the user can choose a design and download a PDF file containing all the information necessary to build the object:

–       blue prints;

–       bill of materials with prices;

–       list of tools needed for building the object;

–       building instructions.

Users are invited to contribute on different levels: sharing images of their builds, sharing of images of customized and modified version of the designs, uploading of brand new designs.

In this way users are involved in the creative process and will inspire other users.

We wish to create a continuous inspiration cycle that spreads from a starting idea.

 

How is it open source?

We apply to our design projects the open source software principles:

– free to use: users can download the complete documentation from our website for free;

– free to modify: users are free to customize the original designs adapting them to their needs;

– free to study: users are welcome to explore the technical solutions that we propose to understand their reasons;

– free to redistribute: users are invited to share their solutions on our website and on social networks to inspire others ideas.

 

Licensing

To protect our designs against embezzlement, we use the Attribution – Non Commercial – Share Alike Creative Commons license that allows anyone to use our material for non-commercial purposes, and “require copies or adaptation of the work to be released under the same or similar license as the original” to help promoting the spreading of the ideas.

 

 The name

Design-alike as in Share-Alike, since we ask users to share any solution or ideas derived from the designs we shared, in the same way we did with those designs: to be open and accessible to as many people as possible.

 

Accessibility and design guide

It is important that the designs we share are truly accessible. That is why we paid particular attention to:

–       use off-the-shelf materials;

–       use only basic tools, and easy manufacturing processes;

–       keep the final price of each object low.

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Therefore we ask contributors to apply the same design guidelines when uploading a design; so all the objects will be really accessible.

 

Why so analog?

One of the main points of Designalike is to stay analog: our idea is to promote hands on approach to product design and manufacturing in opposition to digital fabrication.

We took a step back from consumer electronics and used the web to take people’s eyes and hands off the displays. At least for one moment.

Just like Enzo Mari did with “Autoprogettazione?” we want to promote the discovering of the design practice in everyone’s hands and brain: we want to spur people to endeavor in a hands-on production of material goods in order to create a better knowledge about the quality of the products, and generally to understand how the world practically works.

We want to promote the poetry and joy found in being in direct contact with materials and forms that leads to gain understanding of the great beauty inside the objects: a value that goes beyond the esthetics and the function, and that becomes emotion.

 

So what?

 “Designalike.org” uses the principles of Open Source Software to promote the free circulation of ideas and solutions within product design, in order to create a better awareness about products in opposition to the nowadays excessive consumerist trends.